Instagram’s founders reveal Artifact, a news-based social app

1 Feb 2023

Image: © OSORIOartist/

Powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, Artifact is poised to be a TikTok for news consumption.

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the co-founders of Instagram, have created a news-based social app.

Known as Artifact, the app is currently in private beta and offers a personalised news feed for its users by incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning.

This is the first public venture Systrom and Krieger have announced since they left parent-company Facebook in 2018 after disagreements with management. This came six years after the duo sold Instagram to Facebook for $1bn.

Fashioned as a sort of TikTok for news, the social app will let users read articles from big and small publishers alike, and, over time, suggests news stories based on their interests. Users will also be able to share and discuss stories with friends on the platform.

Artifact was first reported on by The Verge, which said that the company plans to let users in quickly and the app is available on both iOS and Android.

In many ways, Artifact is reminiscent of Google Reader, an RSS-newsreader app that Google sunset in 2013. The major difference between the two is the fact that the Instagram founders’ new creation is powered by advancements in AI and machine learning to improve the user experience.

“Throughout the years, what I saw was that every time we use machine learning to improve the consumer experience, things got really good really quickly,” Systrom told The Verge, based on his experiences at Instagram.

Even though the app comes at a time when disgruntled long-time users of Twitter are looking for alternatives as Elon Musk continues to make changes to the platform, it faces competition from apps offering similar experiences.

News-based apps such as Flipboard, Newsbreak and SmartNews all offer varying degrees of personalisation and social features that Artifact will have to outperform. Other related apps such as Pocket, Matter and even Substack will also pose competition to the newly launched app.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic